Libya: Russia says ready to mediate

2011-05-27 09:14

Tripoli – Russia says it is ready to play a key role in mediating an end to the Libyan conflict as Tripoli continues to be pounded by Nato air strikes. This comes after Libya’s regime offered a truce but not the departure of Muammar Gaddafi.

"We have asked the United Nations and the African Union to set a date and specific hours for a ceasefire, to send international observers and take the necessary measures" to end combat, Prime Minister Baghdadi al-Mahmudi said.

African leaders gathered at a Libya-focused summit in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa called on Thursday for an end to NATO air strikes to pave the way for a political solution to the north African nation's protracted conflict.

But Nato insisted it would keep up its air raids in Libya until Gaddafi’s forces stop attacking civilians and until the regime's proposed ceasefire is matched by its actions on the ground.

An AFP reporter said five powerful explosions hit Tripoli late on Thursday, rocking an area where embattled Gaddafi has his residence.

Fighter jets could be heard over the area before the first blast at around 23:20 with the four others following minutes apart.

Nato air strikes also targeted the Bab Al-Aziziya district, home to Gaddafi, overnight on Monday and Tuesday, killing three people and wounding 150, according to the Libyan regime.

Mahmudi, speaking to reporters in Tripoli late on Thursday, said previous "ceasefires announced by the regime have not been respected by any of the parties". This time the government wanted "all sides to stop fighting, especially Nato".

He ruled out Gaddafi’s ouster.

"Muammar Gaddafi is in the heart of all Libyans. If he goes, they all go," he said, adding that the leader was "in good health" and operating without any restrictions on his movements.

Pressure

London-based daily The Independent reported on Thursday that the Libyan premier was sending international leaders a message proposing an immediate UN-monitored ceasefire in Libya.

According to a letter seen by the newspaper, Gaddafi’s regime was ready to enter unconditional talks with rebels, declare an amnesty for both sides and draft a new constitution.

The Spanish government confirmed it had received a message to that effect.

A Nato official, however, said the western alliance had received no such request and noted that the Gaddafi regime had made "similar statements" before, only to continue its attacks on civilians.

"Nato will keep up the pressure on the regime until these steps are implemented in a credible, verifiable and sustained way," he said.

Russia, meanwhile, said it had been contacted by Mahmudi seeking to negotiate a deal, and had been asked by Western G8 partners to pursue contacts with the regime to seek to resolve the conflict.

Western officials said Moscow had not been formally asked to mediate, but a White House spokesperson said US President Barack Obama had discussed maintaining contacts with Tripoli with his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.

Britain confirmed it would deploy Apache helicopter gunships in Libya, saying the change in tactics would give a final push to the regime of an increasingly "paranoid" Gaddafi.

Regime assets

The announcement during the G8 summit of rich nations in the French resort of Deauville came after days of reports that Britain would join France in sending choppers to join the stalled Nato campaign against Gaddafi’s forces.

"Ministers have given clearance in principle to use Apaches," said a British government official at the summit, asking not to be named. "They will become a capable asset at Nato's disposal."

Britain will operate four of the heavily armed helicopters from the HMS Ocean, a helicopter carrier that will be based off the coast of the North African country, added a British government source.

France and Britain between them account for the majority of air strikes carried out by coalition forces against Gaddafi’s troops under the terms of a UN Security Council resolution adopted in March to protect civilians.

Nato claims it has seriously degraded Gaddafi’s military machine with air strikes from high-flying combat jets, but helicopters would help the alliance strike regime assets hidden in urban areas.

In Brussels on Thursday, Libya's ambassador to the European Union, Hadeiba Hadi, said he was defecting along with all his staff.

"After more than four months of the blood-letting of our people, my colleagues and myself at the Libyan popular bureau in Brussels find ourselves obliged to announce our decision to no longer represent the regime," he said in a statement sent to AFP.


NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
3 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
 

'Zuma's legacy will be judged by Nkandla'

The legacy of President Jacob Zuma is contingent on how he deals with the issue of upgrades to his Nkandla homestead, says Cape Town Archbishop Thabo Makgoba.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Samsung Galaxy Y

The Samsung Y (Young) is tiny but powerful with Android...

From R1499.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Self-indulgence may be strong today. You may want to enjoy yourself to the fullest and share it with those that make you feel...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.